Series: 1 Peter: "Living Faith Out"
Reading: 1 Peter 3:8-22 "Godly Living (Part 1)"
Sermon Date: October 15, 2017
Peter continues his practical, pastoral letter to the young churches, dealing with inter-personal relationships.
What inter-personal relationships do you find most problematic? [ e.g. over-demanding ones; intrusive ones; ones centred on unsolvable problems; ones where you have an obligation (like family) but nothing in common otherwise etc.]
Read: I Peter 3.8-12
Having dealt with some particular relational situations, Peter now becomes more general Note: 'Finally, all of you....' v8
As a church member, do you see yourself as part of something to which you are 'bound' in some way? Does this bond feel like freedom or a shackle?
Do you have unity of spirit with other church members? [note 'spirit' with a small 's']
Where do you think you differ in opinions from others?
How do these differences show? [e.g. in terms of which service we attend; what our views might be on contentious issues in the Church?]
If the 'spirit' had been written with a capitol 'S', would you have answered the questions differently?
When were you last shown sympathy by another church member (excluding family)?
What did it feel like?
V8 speaks about 'love for one another' and 'a tender heart'. Do these phrases resonate with family bonds? Do you think of your fellow Christians as 'brothers and sisters in Christ'?
What happens when 'sibbling rivalry' occurs?
A humble mind is a hallmark of Christian grace and so difficult to assess in oneself.
Discuss the 'bright illusive butterfly' of humility.
What does humility look like in someone else?
How might we recognise when we have lost sight of it ourselves?
'Do not repay evil for evil, or abuse for abuse'.
In our differences, how do we act so as to leave open the door of reconciliation?
[Hearing the other person's complaint; finding a working compromise; speaking and acting respectfully; being committed to a peaceful resolution, etc]
“We are called to a ministry of reconciliation as much as to evangelism”. Discuss that statement.
When did you last exercise a ministry of reconciliation between others? [e.g. arguments between your children; helping neighbours work out their grievances etc]
Suffering is not 'good for the soul'. God acted in Christ to combat and defeat suffering.
But we live in a broken world where suffering is still a fact of life and we have to cope with it as Christians.
What's the difference between coping as Christians with suffering, and coping with suffering for being Christians?
Have you experienced the latter?
When we are misunderstood and criticised for our good intentions, v13, how should we react? [not be intimidated, not crushed by it. But examine ourselves to make sure we were not at fault in any way]
When were you last asked to “give an account of the hope that is within you”? What did you say?
V18 “We are called to follow a suffering Saviour”. What do you understand that to mean, in your experience?
Peter answers a question possibly motivated by concern for concerning the people who lived and died before Jesus came.
What does he say about it?
He then morphs into thoughts about the story of Noah and the flood, linking it with baptism.
How does he draw the comparison with Noah and with baptism?
[ Noah was saved by the water, because he floated on it, even though others were drowned by it. This, he says, is a precursor of the waters of baptism which 'save you'.
This is complex!!, with potential issues of: what does baptism do? Does it 'save you'? etc
The passage is not a theological exposition on baptism so much an a link between those who didn't know Jesus centuries before, and those who do know him now, both linked by water. Baptism is not primarily a sacrament of 'cleansing', but of 'dying to sin and rising to life in Christ'.]
Close by summarising some of the things discussed and reflecting on our attitude to one another as church 'family'.
E. Christine Bailey.
Christine Bailey, 11/10/2017